Sabji hei!

A little young for this job

A sabji (vegetable) wallah from Jodhpur’s old city. Much of the fresh produce in India is still sold from open-air stalls and carts. Shiny, air-conditioned supermarkets are still a relatively new phenomenon and usually only found in big cities.

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Phoolwallahs of jodhpur

Garland

Early in the morning, the scent of flowers mixes with the reek of cow dung in Jodhpur’s old market lanes. Meet the phoolwallah, the flower salesman, stringing together garland of flower petals.

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How’s that for a slice of fried gold?

Cardamom

I admit I’m not much on Indian sweets. The occasional gulab jamun is about all I can stand.

But this bit of heaven in Jodhpur — which I’ve never seen anywhere else in the country (maybe not looking enough) — was fantastic. A combination of soft and crunchy with a hint of cardamom. Some of them come covered in icing or butter or cheese-like substance.

The old market bylanes are filled with these cakewallahs.

See below for a better understanding of how it’s made. I don’t really know a whole lot else, as my Hindi failed that morning. All I could really gather was “elaichi” — Hindi for cardamom — before the guy simply broke me off a piece to try.

I wish I had bought so much more.

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Grab the bull by the horns

Creepy

Or not, as I’m pretty much cattle-phobic. Still.

I’m better than I was, but yes, I’m not getting closer than I need to.

This was a bit of a challenge in Jodhpur (above), which I can say — without any exaggeration — smells like it has the most cows-per-capita of Indian city/town/village/hamlet I’ve visited. Seriously, that place is cow-patty central.

It’s really a wonderful place — with all the heart and chaos and color of India — just a little bovine-ridden.

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Mounds of mitai

Candied saunf and other sweet namkins

Sort of. Sweet snacks. Meethi paan masala, saunf, dried fruits and the like.

From the market lanes in Jodhpur’s old city.

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Old men walking…

Pagri!

Got a turban? Take it for a stroll. In Mehrangarh Quila, in Jodhpur.

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Perfect imperfect art

Traditions

Women paint the ground outside Mehrangarh Quila in Jodhpur.

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Rising right out of the rock face

Towering Mehrangarh

Mehrangarh, the picturesque fort of Jodhpur, towers above the city. It’s a museum and heritage site today, fascinating for its alcoves and exhibits of royal life, weaponry, artifacts and art.

The fort itself rises out of the old Blue City and is an imposing feature of the skyline whenever the crowded markets and teeming bazaars provide a view.

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Accoutrements of luxury

Motion blur = falling stars

During a visit to Jodhpur, friends and I had a wonderful meal in the luxurious Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel, the home of the Jodhpur royals sprawled across 26 acres on a hill above the city and now a Taj hotel. We had not the finances to spend a night there, but the eats were good. (Many thanks to Katie and Simon for picking up this poor teacher’s share of the 11,000 rupee bill.)

The palace is sumptuously adorned as palaces are wont to be. The above photo comes from a dining patio lit by the stars and candles (and motion blur). Those below are from the lobby and public places around the hotel’s marble and stone interior. And yes, that was, at one point, a real tiger.

My only regret is not photographing the meal. Though the mood lighting wouldn’t have allowed it anyway.

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I’ll never be your beast of burden…

You still look like an ass to me.

Donkeys plod the crowded market lanes of old Jodhpur.

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